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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

SPSS Tutorial: About This Tutorial

This guide provides a general walkthrough of SPSS's basic features.

What is SPSS?

SPSS is a data management and analysis software package, maintained by IBM. On the surface it looks a lot like a spreadsheet and performs many of the same functions. Unlike most spreadsheets, however, SPSS provides easy access to a large bevvy of statistical tests and graphics and supports much larger datasets.

About this Guide

The guide provides a straightforward and practical introduction to performing statistical tests and using the data visualization tools available in SPSS. For a comprehensive treatment of SPSS, the software ships with excellent documentation and there are other works suggested in the "Further Resources" section. The tutorials in this guide will give new users a quick overview of what functionality is available in SPSS and an understanding of typical workflows and interactions. The "Further Resources" section of this guide is a list of online and library references that can be used to expand on this tutorial.

Data used in this tutorial

To follow along with the examples in this guide, download the CSV file above. If you wish, you may also download the SAV file, which can be opened directly in the SPSS Data Editor. However, we encourage new users to work with the CSV, since uploading data from CSVs or other text-based files is a fairly common task (see the "Importing Data" tab). The data in these files was collected from three publicly available reports provided by the U.S. Census Bureau:

U. S. Census Bureau. (2010). B01003 - Total Population. All Counties within Illinois. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Retrieved from

U. S. Census Bureau. (2010). B23006 - Educational Attainment By Employment Status For The Population 25 To 64 Years Universe: Population 25 to 64 years . All Counties in Illinois. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Retrieved from

U. S. Census Bureau. (2010). S1903 - Median Income in the Past 12 Months (in 2010 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars): All Counties within Illinois. 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Retrieved from

Where can I use SPSS?

SPSS is available for use in The Scholarly Commons (Main Library 220), as well as remotely using the UIUC Anyware service, which allows students to access remote software from anywhere on or off campus. 

To access SPSS via the UIUC Anyware service: 

  1. Log into UIUC Anyware with your NetID and password 
  2. Under Desktops, click on General Purpose Machine. You'll be logged into a remote Windows desktop. 
  3. Click on the Windows icon in the lower-left corner of the screen. Look for the IBM SPSS folder. 
  4. Open the folder and click on IBM SPSS Statistics. 




Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise indicated, original content in this guide is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 license. You are free to share, adopt, or adapt the materials. We encourage broad adoption of these materials for teaching and other professional development purposes, and invite you to customize them for your own needs. 

Scholarly Commons

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